The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 68]

Notes on Advancing the Struggle Inside: Defeating the Gangster Mentality

What is a gangster? Simply a word, an idea? No Gangster is a psychology, a mentality.

Six things, in varying degree, regardless of locale, are always present in penal institutions: authorities (the badge), prisoners (captives), oppression, resistance, manipulation and violence. Oppression and manipulation are the badges' primary tools for controlling prisons. Captives have recourse to resistance and violence. The gangster is both target and aspiration for the badge and captives alike; if only for different reasons.

The badge sees gangsterism as a necessary evil. The "convict code" is based on gangsterism. The badge uses this to great effect. For example, misinformation offered by a "friendly" badge. There is no doubt a badge can call any captive a snitch, or worse, and be believed. Many reason that the badge does have access to every captive's file. What possible purpose could they have in lying to a gangster?

The badge's main concern is control. Controlling prisoner populations is most effective when the system can take advantage of pre-existing mechanisms, such as gangsterism or convict code. In such cases oppression seems organic, correct course of action instead of manipulation. More often than not a gangster learns information, suspicions emerge, questions asked, investigations follow. At the very least a captive's credibility is destroyed; at the extreme are ostracization and violence. This is not only true for the badge. Captives also manipulate gangsterism. A gangster's word has merit, more so than the badge's. Here too manipulation appears organic. A gangster's suspicions sway other captives' opinions so that character assassination due to personal enmity is all too familiar. The issue is not the manipulation but rather the lack of resistance.

Gangster is the pillar of lumpen communities. Eir honor, integrity are above reproach. Knowing this the badge whispers in the right ears and later watches captives eating one another like sharks in a small pond. At present, the rules of gangsterism are at the service of the badge. Changing the prevailing culture of captive vs. captive violence and badge collaboration is a serious problem to be resolved in prison today. Does this mean abandoning gangsterism? Gangsterism is tied up in all kinds of capitalist principles: machoism, classism, patriarchy, etc. Yet, it is based in resisting the system: noble seed of revolutions. Understanding the forces at play is necessary for combating corrupted gangsterism, because gangsterism can be a stepping stone to revolutionary mentality.

Every social environment evinces a subjection-manipulation cycle: subjection to rules, norms, expectations, and manipulation through rewards and negative consequences. Prisons are no different, neither is criminal intercourse. Capitalism for general society, gangsterism for captives. To bring gangsterism back to its revolutionary core we can turn to the democratic method – unity, criticism, unity.

Gangsterism is at the badge's service not only because of manipulation disseminated through gangsters but by lumpen divisions. In prison, far more than in society, lumpen become isolationists and separatists. Latinos with Latinos, further segregated by northern or southern affiliations or otherwise. Identical processes follow for all other lumpen. These divisions create barriers to communication, distrust and steady tensions. The badge plays on STG (Security Threat Group, a Homeland Security terrorist categorization term, also found in FBI documents referring to Brown Berets and Black Panther Party members or supporters) affiliations and nation prejudices as much as they do gangsterism and with the same end in view – greater control. Unity is the only real response. The badge is unified against us captives in their efforts. We, on the other hand, are barely unified against each other. First and foremost, gangsterism should be centered on opposition and resistance to the badge. Captive vs. badge.

Gangsters must be extra critical with all information received from the badge. Nine out of ten times the badge doesn't tell you anything for your benefit. Information disseminated in the service of penological interests. Consider how many times the badge has warned you about a major shake down or offered to hold your contraband? They are always engaged in exercising more control. Beginning from a united oppositional front – captives vs. badge – it becomes possible to derail the subjection-manipulation cycle. Criticism is the second stage in this process; one must analyze eir motive, endgame and method of manipulation.

From unity in opposition and criticism of intelligence being gifted us we turn to unity in response. This last stage of the democratic method is determined on a case by case basis. Every prison is distinct in character. Gangsterism is not corrupted everywhere in the exact same degrees. In some facilities badge collaboration is excessive, in others captive vs. captive violence is the commanding concern. In progressing the struggle, captives must be able to unite against the badge. This means moving beyond nation prejudices and STG allegiances. This constitutes the hardest step in our struggle.

[Principal Contradiction] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 67]

Weeding Out the Roots of Imperialism

We see now in these times a great number of mass movements springing up and struggling for particular causes. A new generation of activists forming and struggling against ever more specific issues. For almost any social issue affecting anyone in the United $tates today you will find some type of movement underway to combat it. From racism, sexism, religious intolerance, wages, to police brutality, prison reform and sentencing reform, etc.

These kinds of issues have more or less always existed here in the United $tates and mass movements have more or less always accompanied them. However, not much has been accomplished. Every one of these issues and forms of oppression continue to plague society, with some of them becoming even more acute. Of course, to many, much has appeared to have changed; with some reforms made and concessions given, the great tactic of pacification and distraction has been utilized. But after generations of struggle and "victories" (reforms) why is it that these problems continue to exist?

These things are like weeds: you can chop them down and it may appear as if they have been removed or cut so low that they are no longer perceived as problems, but they grow right back because the roots were not ripped out. This leaves one mowing the same patch of weeds week after week.

All social movements that aren't struggling to eliminate the root cause of these forms of oppression are only battling non-principal contradictions. This doesn't mean that these issues aren't important, it just means that they are merely effects of the principal contradictions, not their cause. They are by-products of the system that, like weeds, constantly reproduces itself so long as its base remains intact.

What is the base from which these non-principal contradictions originate? It is the mode of production: capitalism. It is the economic base that created and perpetuates these forms of oppression people continue to fight. What people continue to fight is the superstructure that protrudes from the base. But these types of struggles will be an eternal one if we continue to fight what appears to be the cause of oppression instead of its essence.

Karl Marx's scientific study of history, and sociology in particular, allowed him to demonstrate how our material conditions determine our social relations with each other. Let's hear Marx putting forth this concept:

"Assume a particular state of development in the productive faculties of man and you will get a particular form of commerce and consumption. Assume particular stages of development in production, commerce, and consumption and you will have a corresponding social constitution, a corresponding organization of the family, of orders or of classes, in a word, a corresponding civil society. Assume a particular civil society and you will get particular political conditions which are only the official expression of civil society."

So goes the materialist conception of history. But we don't have to take Marx's word for it. We can analyze history and see for ourselves how each different stage of development of the productive forces and the mode that these forces were subsumed produced its own social relations peculiar to that mode of production. And with that, its own contradictions, whether they be manifested in culture, class, gender, "race," etc. This demonstrates that our material relations have been the basis of our relations.

This is the concept of the base (mode of production) producing the superstructure (social relations, politics, laws, ideology, morality, desires, etc.). We use this concept to show that a lot of the forms of oppression that we struggle against are produced by the nature of the economic foundation that we are dominated by. It has produced and continues to reproduce these contradictions. Now it is systemic. If we are ever going to end racism, sexism, imperialism, mass imprisonment, poverty, hunger, etc., then we have to eliminate the thing that causes them.

Our movements must consolidate their efforts to attack the base. We have the valence, we just need to help the people make these connections. Everything is connected in some way to the economic base, its mode of production and distribution. Capitalism's system of "all against all" has created these contradictions we face. With colonialism, imperialism, and especially now with neo-colonialism, many new contradictions and forms of oppression have sprung up that can cloud our vision. But we can't continue to concentrate great amounts of our energy and resources in fighting the non-principal contradictions that don't target the system directly.

It is of course understood that at certain moments a nation's contradictions that were non-principal before, or perhaps even non-existent, can become principal contradictions. For example, in China before/during Mao's revolution Japanese imperialism was the principal contradiction, but afterward new contradictions became acute due to the ever-expanding nature of global capitalism.

In Vietnam before/during Ho Chi Minh's liberation movement against French colonialism, for the people of Vietnam colonialism was the principal contradiction. Then came the fight against U.$. imperialism which quickly became the principal contradiction. But these were particular contradictions, not general ones.

Imperialism is an appendage of capitalism. When the courageous and determined guerilla fighters of Vietnam defeated U.$. imperialism, they did not end imperialism. They only ended U.$.-Vietnam imperialism.

The point is that while forms of oppression like imperialism can seem like the principal contradiction to certain nations at certain times, it can never truly be the principal contradiction overall. Even when China fought Japanese imperialism, and to them it was the principal contradiction, in the grand scheme of things it was not; it was the interests that caused imperialism.

Imperialism can not truly be defeated until the imperialist nations/empires undergo an internal revolution and the economic interests that drive imperialism cease to be. So long as global capitalism and the capitalist global market persists, imperialism will always exist in some form; it will only be shifted from one nation that defeats imperialism onto another, and that cycle will continue.

To rid all oppressed nations of imperialist aggression we've got to rid the imperialist nations of the mode of production (capitalism) that makes imperialism necessary.

Of course, we must always continue to demonstrate against the by-products of capitalism, the non-principal contradictions. But in doing so we have to consolidate these movements and establish a consensus of consciousness so that while we continue to fight everyday oppression we can also understand that the fight is really much bigger and we have to all know what the cause of these forms of oppression is.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This is a great explanation of the nature of capitalism and why reformist and even individual anti-imperialist battles don’t result in the immediate end of oppression. To do that, it's important to define the principal contradiction within any struggle. The principal contradiction is the thing that will push forward a struggle the most. It is the highest priority contradiction, the one that revolutionaries must focus their energy on. It is the string we can pull to unravel the whole situation. And so it's the most important contradiction to focus on right now. As this author points out, in revolutionary war, as with the ones in Vietnam and China, the principal contradiction is between the imperialist occupying force and the oppressed masses. In the world today overall we see the principal contradiction as between the imperialist countries and the nations they oppress and exploit. In prison we can identify the principal contradiction in a particular situation. For instance when there is an ongoing battle between imprisoned lumpen orgs then the principal contradiction in that prison might be between two lumpen organizations. That doesn't mean it will be the principal contradiction forever. If we achieve peace between the warring lumpen groups, the new principal contradiction may be between the lumpen and the state.

We agree with this writer on the fundamental importance of the contradiction of capitalism. We say that the class contradiction, which under capitalism is between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, is the fundamental contradiction. This means it underlies all other contradictions within class society. As this author points out, this is an important guiding principle because it helps us understand why one successful revolution in one country won't lead to the end of all oppression, even within that country. This doesn't, however, mean that class is always the principal contradiction. In fact, as noted above, the principal contradiction in the world today is between imperialist countries and the exploited countries. And even within U.$. borders we see the principal contradiction as between the oppressor and oppressed nations.

By evaluating every situation scientifically we can figure out what is the most important contradiction to focus our energy on. And in this way we can best push forward the revolutionary movement.

[United Front] [ULK Issue 68]

First Nation Organizer Statement of Unity with UFPP

Peace: means to me and my organization that people have a right to be ok and have sanity and wellness in their lives and experience no harm to their persons or families, friends and so forth. I live in a behavioral health unit @ Pinta and see much suffering and I long to see reform and the end of senseless suffering.

Unity: I long to see the unification of all races and peoples in a harmonious and integrated diversity of embrace and brother/sisterhood and so forth. For too long the nations and people suffer because of bias and division and needless persecution. It's time to band together.

Growth: I long for a movement, which I believe MIM and USW are that movement that will spread like wildfire and join in true revolution and change.

Internationalism: I believe MIM/USW are a blaze waiting to happen and proposes a better cause than any I've seen in recent years. I believe it is a crown on the head of movements like NuIndian Uprising and American Indian Movement and also International/Foreign orgs like the mentioned. I feel that we, through this cause, can unite divided nations.

Independence: I believe that true independence is gained through communal occurrence. I am of Iroquoian descent and Marx and Engels described the Iroquois gens as communist in nature. I am Seneca-Cayneya Cherokee and Wyandotte (Wandat-Huron) and I believe once people join together under a true system and do away with genocidal imperialism, we will truly know freedom.

I make statement here to my pledge of unity with and to Maoist International Ministry of Prisons, the United Front and the United Struggle from Within.

I avow to uphold the 5 principles and contribute to cause and effect and the true struggle of this great and rising movement.

There is more to say for myself. But, that would be vain. This is not about me but aiding others and uniting people.

MIM(Prisons) responds: The United Front for Peace in Prisons welcomes organizers like this comrade into the movement. The five principles of the UFPP underscore the basis for our unity and organizing work.

It is true that Marx and Engels argued that traditional indigenous hunter-gatherer communities were based on egalitarian social relationships and common ownership. They called this primitive communism. But they were clear that we can't go back in time. As history marches forward, new contradictions have developed. Class contradictions developed throughout the world, manifesting first in slave societies, then in feudalism, and most recently in capitalism.

We now need to overthrow capitalism in order to establish a new form of communism around the globe. And unfortunately we can't just get to communism overnight. Capitalism has corrupted the thinking of many people with a lifetime of reactionary culture and drive for individual profit, so we will need a period of dictatorship of the proletariat under the transitional phase to communism that we call socialism. This dictatorship will forcibly keep the minority who support exploitation of the majority out of power.

It will take many years to work through the period of socialism to establish a true communist society where no group has power over any other group. As we work to get there, we should take inspiration from the egalitarian nature of historical humyn societies. Anyone who says that humyns are just inherently selfish and incapable of creating a communist system should study this history.

[Organizing] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Florida State Prison] [Florida] [ULK Issue 68]

Challenges Building Lumpen Unity

If we were to take the key differences as outlined by Willie Lynch such as age, skin tone, gender, etc. and replace them with more viable, up-to-date ones pertaining to the lumpen organization class i.e. nation, tribe, flag color, hood, set, block, race, etc., we get a slightly different blueprint but the exact same end results. Results that Lynch prophesized would be self-generating for generations to come. This blueprint was the same one implemented by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI COINTELPRO which saw the dismantling of our Black Power era vanguard. It is the same blueprint later utilized by law enforcement agencies such as L.A.'s crash unit, gang detail, gang surveillance unit and prison guards: divide and control!

An 11 October 2018 riot at Taylor C.I. saw 15 lumpens, including myself, from different orgs and tribes, beaten, rounded up, beaten some more and emergency shipped to Florida State Prison's (FSP) Control Management Unit. Arriving here and hearing the lumpen-on-lumpen disrespect and set-tripping on the tiers and back-windows was defiling to the sacrifice of blood, sweat and tears that we had made. We had taken one small step against oppression but it was only one small step in one institution. Elsewhere, however, nothing had changed. At Taylor it was Bloods, Crips, Folk, a Stone, a local tribesman and a civilian standing together in solidarity, at FSP it was only business as usual.

Organizing unity at FSP is and has always been a challenge. Although it is not impossible, it hasn't happened much. Some of the main setbacks spawn from accessibility to each other as well as study material due to censorship. Group building is possible but slow as thoughts would have to be put on paper and kited from cell to cell risking being knocked off by C.O.s. Building on the back windows puts you in direct competition with nihilists, agent provocateurs and otherwise anti-revolutionaries, but it also puts you at risk of being placed on strip, written up, or worse for "disorderly conduct" if caught. Censorship is an ongoing problem for many revolutionary publications because it is said to be "inflammatory" and "poses a threat to security." I am not anti-C.O. I believe that C.O.s have a vital role to play in keeping order in a potentially hostile environment. I am anti-oppression. My prophecies arise when certain C.O.s (not all) abuse their authority, overstepping boundaries. Words written on paper do not incite. Oppressive C.O.s incite.

Another setback is leadership. Somebody has to step forward and do what is right. Just because it is right. If nobody starts, then nobody can follow. As leaders it is our duty to guide the hand of young and less experienced brothers, especially when one misstep can weaken our chance of success as a whole. Water has always trickled down-hill so it is the leaders who must unite in solidarity in order to educate the rest of our tribes. Unfortunately, while we never lack those who wish to lead, we do lack those who are qualified to lead leaving room for avarice and chaos where none were meant to exist. Leaders have to step up and step out of their comfort zones and their needs to be liked. If something is wrong, it matters not how many are for it, leaders must stand against it. If a thing is righteous, it matters not how many don't like it, leaders must stand firm in its righteousness. This leads to the biggest setback of all: history.

The Lynch-like mindsets that have been indoctrinated through our histories of tribal genocide is a hard, hot bullet to bite when trying to establish peace with rival tribes with whom we have played live ammunition tag. This is what makes our hatreds towards each other perpetual, spanning generations – loved ones lost. The past is of value only as it aids in understanding the present; and in understanding of the facts of the problem is the first step to its solution. Understanding, as well as communication, can go a long way. Unfortunately, they are luxury not often experienced or allowed in our lifestyles, making way for petty, ignorant issues that often result in violence. We have to start somewhere. The breaking down of our walls and barriers is tantamount to the building up of peace and unity. Even if the peace process begins 1-on-1, 1-by-1, it is a beginning to something bigger than us as individuals, separated, the majority of us were created to override the oppression of our communities and our peoples. But only together can we begin to turn that ideology into a reality.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Transfers and control units are two useful tools of the state to prevent positive movements among the prison population. So we should not blame the masses too much and recognize that we need leaders to step forward as this comrade does. Each one teach one.

While transfers are effective to stifle momentum, we must use them as an opportunity to spread positive ideas to new people. Control units are also effective tools of repression, and we must continue to focus on the campaign to end this torturous practice by the United $nakes.

[Abuse] [Organizing] [River North Correctional Center] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 67]

Many Angles to Work On

26 December 2018 — A lot of situations have been happening since my last letter. As you can see my location has changed once again. Reason being is because at the last/previous slave-pen that held me many prisoners, including myself, filed informational complaints and grievances on a situation that occurred with two pig-officers. To make a long story short, these two pigs taunted and encouraged a mentally-ill prisoner to cut his wrist with a razor-blade. While this mentally-ill prisoner is in the shower or even in his cell, he is not allowed to be in possession of a razor. This is a rule laid by River North Correctional Center (RNCC), and of course this incident happened in the Restrictive Housing Unit (segregation). Knowing this prisoner came from the SCORE unit, which is a unit that houses mentally-ill prisoners, these two officers was excited to attempt to get this prisoner to slice his wrist. Well, the prisoner did cut his wrists.

Now, this is where everything begins to hit the fan. These two pig-officers (C.O. Devine and the C.O. Denton) began to panic. The prisoner is bleeding out and now has to be rushed to the medical unit. Both pigs are immediately questioned by their superiors as to how the prisoner got hold of an open razor. They lied and tried to stage the whole incident as a self-motivated suicidal attempt.

Their superior, Sgt. May, tells two things: 1) to search the prisoner's cell and see if they could find anything that could assist their claim, and 2) if they're unsuccessful, find other prisoners on the tier to open as many razor casings as they can to support the pigs' cause. How I know all this? Well for one I'm on the tier it occurred, two, C.O. Devine came and practically begged me to help him get out of that situation. I felt disgusted, angry and disrespected!!!

Right then and there, I began to organize the unit to act in assistance with the mentally-ill prisoner and to expose the corruption and wickedness of RNCC's pig-staff. We filed paperwork, wrote out to ACLU, the DOC, the media, and got our lawyers involved with our family. At this time, the pigs were harassing each prisoner who was in the movement. We continued to push with agitation and exposure. More repression came down. Still we continued and are continuing. Then, the pig-admin started to separate us and transfer us to different prisons but the movement continues!

As of right now, I've been transferred from RNCC to another Maximum Security prison in Virginia. However, the movement is still at full swing. Two other participants have been shipped here along with me. We still remain in contact with the others also.

Well, that's the mini-story of what happened, and the struggle against repression followed us at this site. Mind you, that situation happened on 5 November 2018, I was removed from the prison shortly after, and today I'm just receiving my property. In addition to that, pig-officers here will cut off my commode for long periods so that I'm unable to flush my toilet. When I try to file Emergency Grievance, they either don't take it up or take it and don't give me a receipt. Who knows what they'll do next. I'm up for the fight!

On another note, I am still active in my teaching mode. I have organized political education classes on the tier and one of the two subjects I started with was teaching dialectical materialism and the whole dialectical transformation process. I felt good starting that class because I have enough information regarding dialectical materialism. However, the other class on what New Afrika was and New Afrikan revolutionary nationalism. I struggled because my knowledge of it is low! But I tried given the circumstances.

Nevertheless, my class on dialectical materialism was successful in bringing an understanding of its definition and its operation to my students. I used the information you provided me in the "Introduction to the Materialist method by MIM(Prisons), October 2017" and "Choosing One Ideology over Another: The Materialist Method" by MC5 of the Maoist Internationalist Movement. I explained how dialectical meanings of material things, people, and ideas transform in a struggle for liberation. I explained how the dialectical transformation moves in a perpetual sequence from without to within to without back within, and just keep going on and on. I gave examples on how it works in a way they could better understand, and tried my best at breaking it down and building it back up.

I want to ask you if you can send me anything that I could use in our P.E. classes to help educate us in what New Afrikan revolutionary nationalism is and how did it originate, and just the whole concept of the New Afrikan nation. If I have to pay for it let me know, but it'll be a while before I can purchase it because I'm suffering from economic hardships as of right now but eventually I could scrabble something up. Just let me know.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We are happy to send study materials to people who are running study groups and organizing locally. We have two articles that discuss the concept of New Afrika that were printed in ULK that we can send you. The New Afrikan Subcommittee of the USW Council is interested in commissioning someone to turn the content of these articles into a flier (with art) if that is something your study group (or anyone) is interested in. For more in depth reading on the theory and history of Black/New Afrikan nationalism we have a study pack on the legacy of the BPP($6) and one on revolutionary feminist proletarian nationalism($8). Send in a donation to the address on p. 1, or equivalent work-trade (e.g. a report on the organizing and political education you're doing, like this article!).

We also print this letter as an excellent example of organizing in spite of conditions of repression. This writer is working with others to fight the criminal injustice system from multiple angles. First there is the fight against the pigs who pushed the prisoner to cut eir wrist, and tried to get others to help them cover it up. Then there is the repression that followed, with the transfers and keeping up contact with other activists. And finally there is the study group, pushing forward both learning and practice at the same time.

This comrade is setting an example of perseverance in defending revolutionary principles, and building and maintaining unity with others.

[Organizing] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 67]

Spreading ULK = Spreading Consciousness

The Amerikkkan government views our power of enlightenment as immeasurably more dangerous than their wars, and will stop at nothing to try and suppress it. Just a point to ponder as I kick off this letter and something most of us already know but can never be overstated enough.

Back in the horrific segregation unit (that I was housed in for almost 6 months) I had the pleasure of witnessing this: I ended the year by composing a 30-page letter to you and also by putting every copy of ULK in my possession into circulation. Overnight the other captives' conversation transformed from mostly useless chatter into inspired pro-active resistance-fueled talk. They would approach my cell door, timidly, in hopes of receiving more. I'll never forget the hungry look in their eyes and the lesson I learned in this.

Perhaps I've overextended my assumption of the-ones-inside's awareness of the inner-workings to the Prison Industrial Complex. It baffles me how blind so many remain to it even while stationed in the very center of it. So I understand better now the need, in most cases, of beginning at square one, then perhaps setting a slower pace than I've practiced in the past in the goal of enlightenment. Although the combined effort of my methods and your printed words did seem to move things along rather quickly.

Maybe you recall how, as I was composing the year-end letter to you, I had the pleasure to overhear prisoners discussing if it's realistic and possible to succeed in fighting back against the system. With 2-against-1 deciding that it is. Then the one who didn't believe so shouting for grievance forms. While the sadistic and beyond-lazy unit manager looked on and listened in with a pained and disappointed look on his face. This was only days after I'd passed ULK 65 along.

After this I quickly distributed everything anti-establishment in my possession. By New Years Day everything I had was passed along. Throwing shit on prisoners by other prisoners was a common and daily occurrence, but by the 3rd a loud-mouthed and worthless nurse was covered and the next day a C.O. While I don't endorse the act of propelling excrement missiles, if it must be done then at least let pigs roll in it!

That same day I received a note from a prisoner terrified he would suffer a seizure and die while in the seg unit due to the criminally inadequate medical staff and the deliberate indifference displayed by the C.O.s. While writing my response to him, a mail clerk delivered to me a brand new Jailhouse Lawyer's Handbook so I sent him my used one along with my response and of course your address. The next morning a prisoner in seg is found dead. A month to the day of my relaunch of medical grievances which had been postponed by my having to document 6 months worth of obvious retaliation from the pigs.

By January 7, previously apathetic prisoners are demanding grievances and statement forms while I'm circulating the grievance petition and the next morning I transfer to my current location. An extremely cushy prison set up which I'm thankful to be at. But at the same time I'm overwhelmed with feelings of survival guilt for the ones left behind there, and all of the fucked up prisons. I am rather stoked about how I'm not completely cut off from current events any longer since I'm free from the sensory deprivation torture chamber and will be able to prepare essays about recent news now. Like this border wall nonsense with the true purpose to provide a physical manifestation for the racial resentment found inside many of those in Trump's base. I'd advise the idiot in chief to remember the humpty dumpty nursery rhyme.

In the lengthy year-end letter I'd written how I planned to share my history with the grievance process to demonstrate how the petition arrived right on time and almost seemed pre-planned. It's definitely a game changer and I can never thank you enough. If you are interested in viewing that, I'll be more than glad to send it in the future. Right now I want to go over my history with ULK so far and also request any extra issues available to learn from and circulate.

This time last year I had the good fortune of coming across ULK 60. I signed up for a subscription and received 61. I got 62 and after fucking up the audit the next day an angered and cowardly unit manager removed it from my back pocket and destroyed it before placing me outdoors until medical had to treat me for dehydration. The next issue was covered in shit thrown by prisoners who were weak-minded enough to be enticed by the pigs in hopes of thwarting the continuation of my 1983 Civil Action claim. Fuck, the interruptions won't stop — it sure is easier to write in seg! I will come up with a way to remain better focused in the next one comrades. In the meantime I will continue on to service to others, defending the oppressed, and self-sacrifice geared towards meeting the goals towards greater good.

MIM(Prisons) responds: Thanks for sharing this great example of the potential impact of sharing political literature with others. Not only was this comrade engaged by coming across Under Lock & Key but then ey went on to engage others by sharing ULK. It's always inspiring when we get to see the positive results of our organizing work. Spreading around ULK is a great way to have an impact. If you want to get extra copies for distribution write in to let us know.

[Organizing] [ULK Issue 67]

Learning Through Punk Rock

I'm excited for the upcoming issue about successful recruiting techniques. I can contribute 2 ideas concerning this. What's been useful for me is to always make it obvious I don't seek to impose my personal belief or philosophies upon others. I only offer them for examination, evaluation, and possible use! Which is something I've noticed you all practice. Also, since you continually point out how you are open to and accepting of criticism.

The second is more rare, I think, and perhaps not a method to be used by everyone, but I know it does work for some! There's a documentary called "Punks Not Dead" and in it Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day is discussing how everything he knows about politics was learned through punk rock, not boring school teachers. How in order for something to commit to his memory it's better if it's in some kind of offensive fashion. A little twisted or demented, humorous in a "sick" sort of way, and I can relate to that!

MIM(Prisons) responds: Culture, including music from punk to rap and even some country, helps make politics relatable and is a great approach for educating folks. We publish art and poetry in part to reach different groups of people and offer another way for people to pick up revolutionary ideas. And we aspire to include more infographics in ULK, and also eventually run video channels and radio shows. Ideally there should be musicians making revolutionary music, film makers producing revolutionary films, and many other genres of contributors. If you've got skills in these areas, step up and get involved, we need your contributions!

[Economics] [ULK Issue 67]

Prisons Spend Billions for Social Control

First and foremost, allow me to debunk an ever-present myth; one that continues obscuring and detracting from debates about prison. Prisons are NOT profitable businesses, at least, not in the manner of the Exxon Mobiles, Sam's Clubs, Wynn Resorts and Carls Jr.'s of the world. While there are "for-profit" prisons in existence, they constitute an extreme minority within what many refer to as the Prison Industrial Complex (a mistaken belief). Reality is that 92-98% of all prisons are state-run entities. This means they are appendages of the state/federal government in whose territory they operate. Prisons are no more for-profit than is the local police department, courthouse, legislature or DMV (although the latter is debatable).

Now we turn to the heart of the matter. If prisons aren't profit-generating behemoths, then why do they proliferate in capitalistic societies like rabbits in heat? The penal institution, as a system, is the direct byproduct of capitalism. I don't mean commodity-centrism in economic terms. Rather, prisons came about to address political fallout consequence of a poli-economic ideology; let's nickname it "Haves and Have Nots Syndrome" (Hahn Syndrome, for short).

It is clearer and clearer, day after day, generation following generation, that Hahn Syndrome is progressively worsening. As the syndrome advances in stages, the Haves become narrower in number. Contrarily, the Have Nots expand. Haves being not only those with wealth sufficient to manage life as they see fit, more or less. Haves are also those with authority over the processes of production, modes of exchange, political/social landscape, those with an appreciable amount of influence, power normally aligned to capitalist interests. Have Nots being not merely those without an over-abundance of wealth, but also those marginalized, disenfranchised and excluded from the political/social landscape. Have Nots are volatile, excluded masses. Of course, these must be attended to in earnest as the minority comprehends the masses' threat. Thus, a complex inter-dependent, self-perpetuating social control mechanism: the penitentiary.

Looking at the global picture of capitalism, we can identify trends: inequality (social, economic, gender), formal systems (justifying abuses, discrimination, prejudice), excluded masses, and above all, penal institutions. No coincidences there. These are all byproducts of capitalistic systems making it all-but-inevitable that such behemoths must be employed. Capitalism has, in "civilized" society, resorted to far more effective measures than good, old fashioned plomo (read: marginalization, isolation, disenfranchisement, invalidation, forfeitures, imprisonment).

What does this do for capitalism? Take an undocumented immigrant. Ey is not a citizen — meaning without rights or validation — which translates to being exploited for labor or political ends. Trumpists push for wall funding on the political side; harvesters, nannies, etc. on the laboral. Exploited for labor when profitable and politics whenever convenient. This is only one example of Hahn Syndrome in action on Have Nots.

First World lumpen can, due to their best interests, be counted among Have Nots; especially considering they are prime targets for prison. Hence, 2-million-plus incarcerated and over 6 million under state management (according to and U.S. Census Bureau statistics). For those who don't become good capitalist contributors, prison is their final or eventual destination.

An ignorant mass is the mob. The mob is easily swayed this or that way. An excluded, disaffected, educated mass means a rebellion, a resistance, a real opponent for capitalism. Something capitalists will do anything to avoid. Why spend ill-gotten gains educating disorganized, excluded masses, turning them into a potential usurper, when you could just lock them up? While penitentiaries do not generate super earnings, they are necessary for any capitalistic ideology and society to function. Such behemoths swallow whole dangerous sections of the mob resulting in its impotency.

The mob's ignorance is bliss for capitalists. Why waste millions, billions, building behemoths to swallow the mob? Why do you avoid giving a gun to somebody who wants to kill you? Self-preservation. And capitalist logic is no different. If the central issue can be distracted from (not discussing capitalism and the role of prisons in perpetuating it) then every effort within the bounds of capitalistic systems will fail. This is why the mass must be educated, because then we'll realize the system is just a game of smoke and mirrors. Reform? The Behemoth keeps devouring.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this author on eir fundamental point that prisons are not for profit, but rather for social control. We want to offer some clarification on the sectors of society discussed above.

First, the definition of Haves and Have Nots might seem obvious, but this is actually a point of much debate among activists. We see many so-called leftists claiming that workers in the United $tates are part of the oppressed group (the Have Nots) but we see that their wages are artificially inflated with the profits of exploitation of the Third World. And so these folks are very much the Haves on a global scale.

In general we look at the oppressed nations within U.$. borders as the groups with the greatest interest in fighting imperialism. But with the class focus that Haves and Have Nots implies, we would define the Have Nots to include undocumented immigrants and the First World lumpen. The lumpen is defined as the class of people in the First World who are excluded from the productive process. By virtue of living in the First World, this class, on average, receives more material benefits from imperialism than the global proletariat. As such their interests are not the same as the exploited classes and we do not include them in the "lumpen-proletariat." But their conditions in many ways parallel those of the lumpen-proletariat, standing in stark contrast to the majority of the First World populations.

MIM(Prisons) published a pamphlet "Who is the Lumpen in the United States" which includes our contemporary class analysis of this group. We do not see evidence to suggest this group is growing. Send in $3 or equivalent work-trade to the address on p. 1 for your copy.

[Somalia] [U.S. Imperialism] [Campaigns] [ULK Issue 67]

U.$. AFRICOM Drone Bombings Surge in Somalia

Somalia governance 2016 map

The United $tates has been waging a low-intensity war in Somalia for over a decade, and it's only getting worse. U.$. bombings in Somalia have tripled since Trump took office. These bombings generally go unreported in the Amerikan press, but investigative journalist Amanda Sperber has helped bring what little information there is to light. According to her report, the administration has refused to explain to Congress its reasoning for the increased bombing campaign. The United States's Africa Command (AFRICOM) reports claim only terrorists have been killed in these "targeted attacks," while Sperger has spoken with victims on the ground who list young children and civilians as being killed. This has become the common result of the U.$. drone wars.

In 2017, President Trump issued a directive allowing AFRICOM to assassinate anyone it identified as a member of Al Shabaab. The new president of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, is an Amerikan-trained puppet who has allowed AFRICOM to operate freely within the country. It is little wonder that Al Shabaab garners support with calls for national liberation in a country that has no free will independent of U.$. imperialism.

In addition to AFRICOM, it has been reported that the CIA is also assassinating people in Somalia, and their requirements for transparency are even more limited. While there are reportedly 500 Amerikan troops in Somalia these days, almost all operations, including the CIA, are run from the safety of the "Green Zone." They use drones to do the killing, and then claim that everyone killed was a terrorist.

Southern Somalia is just one hotspot for AFRICOM-operated warfare on the continent of Africa. It is these secret imperial wars that comrades in United Struggle from Within are standing up against by joining the campaign to Shut Down AFRICOM. We must work to lift the veil of secrecy around these wars, and build an anti-imperialist movement that is capable of challenging these unnecessary deaths from within the belly of the beast.

As this issue of Under Lock & Key goes to print we will be tallying up the final count of petition signatures from our readers. These petitions will be submitted to the Congressional Black Caucus by the Black Alliance for Peace in April.

[Campaigns] [ULK Issue 67]

Prisoners Role in Expanding ULK

In 2018, about 1% of our subscribers in U.$. prisons donated money each month. Those comrades supplied about 2% of the funding for printing and mailing Under Lock & Key to prisoners across the country. If you include all money from comrades behind bars, including literature purchases, and MIM(Prisons) full operating budget, those comrades provided about 5.8% of our funds. This is not an insignificant portion of our budget, yet it remains relatively small considering our primary audience is U.$. prisoners.

We are still in the progress of exploring options for how to make ULK a monthly newsletter. While we hope to be more efficient with our resources as part of this campaign, there is little doubt our total costs are going to increase significantly. And the comrades in MIM(Prisons), who fund the vast majority of what we do, will not have the ability to cover such an increase. Therefore this expansion will have to stand on 3 legs: 1) partners who we hope will co-publish the new newsletter, therefore taking on some portion of the funding and distribution; 2) recruiting new distributors on the streets who will also contribute a monthly amount to fund the new newsletter; and 3) our existing subscribers in U.$. prisons.

Many years ago we reported that prisoners funded 4% of Under Lock & Key and set a goal of increasing that to 10%. Since then we've tracked donations separate from payments for literature or other services. Today, we have a ways to go to reach that modest goal of funding 10% of Under Lock & Key from comrades behind bars.

If you are a reader of ULK who thinks that doubling the frequency with which we can send communiques out to prisoners across the country is a needed expansion, please think about how you can organize to contribute to funding that expansion.

Currently, a one-year subscription to Under Lock & Key costs about $10 to fulfill. We don't know what that number will be under the new scenario yet. The goal of funding 10% of ULK could be reached by 10% of prisoners who receive ULK contributing $10 per year. Remember we only have 1% of our subscribers donating right now, covering about 2% of the costs. We need at least ten times more of you to step up to help make this goal attainable. Contact us for info on how to donate by check our MO.

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